News & Media

A chat with Dave Ross: Comic Book Artist and MTM Instructor

Dave Ross, comic book artist and a long time instructor at MTM, loves to tell stories, not with words, but with pictures. That’s why he became an illustrator – specifically, a comic book illustrator. 

“Tell a story, whether it’s your own or someone else’s”, advises Ross

MTM Director of Outreach, Natalie Kauffman, “sat down” (virtually, that is) with Dave Ross to chat with him about his career as a comic book artist, his teaching career, his book and more. So what does Ross, who has worked for Marvel, DC Comics and Darkhorse, amongst other publications, and has drawn such well-known characters as Captain America, Spiderman, Iron Man, Batgirl and Daredevil (and many more), recommend to those who want to make it in the big leagues? “Get out there and get yourself published.” Start off with an Indie comic, or self publish. “Tell a story, whether it’s your own or someone else’s, but show publishers that you can put together a visual story from start to finish – that’s the key.” 

Ross was instrumental in the design of MTM’s Illustration Curriculum

As one of the founders of the Illustration and Storytelling for Sequential Arts diploma program at MTM, Ross has been instrumental in helping to design the curriculum over the years. When asked why Illustration should be a four-year diploma program for a college (upgraded from our original three-year diploma program), Ross has a simple answer: we teach everything you need to know in order to have a life long career in illustration. “It’s a really broad base of skills that you need”, Ross explains. “With a fourth year, we’re able to diversify some of the learning”. He goes on to explain that he’s now able to spend more time on teaching areas of study that there wasn’t time for before, which serves to make students stronger in the field and ready for a wider variety of potential career options.  

Dave Ross’s book is used by art students all around the globe

Ross also talks about making his book, Freehand Figure Drawing for Illustrators, which has been widely received, translated into several languages (Japanese, Korean, Mainland Chinese) and has had him tour places such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. He has essentially crafted the book around courses that he teaches at MTM – constructive figure drawing – and has designed the book to be like a text book with exercises after each chapter. Ross loved meeting art students from around the globe, and can’t wait to get back on his book tour again, once it’s safe to do so. “You can go to the other side of the world and essentially be dealing with the same challenges with the students there,” Ross comments. Speaking of these artistic challenges, Ross notes that “the struggle is a universal struggle” – a struggle that he is happy to help students overcome!

This is a must-watch interview for anyone wanting to pursue a career in illustration, particularly in a comic book or graphic novel illustration. It’s also great for any of the multitudes of comic book lovers or fans of Dave Ross!

Watch the full Dave Ross interview here

Interested in becoming a comic book illustrator, a graphic novel illustrator or a children’s book illustrator? Find out more about MTM’s unique Illustration & Storytelling for Sequential Arts Diploma Program – the only one of its kind in Canada! 

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